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For King, Country, and Family
Warm, morning light shone out of the flaps of my tent. It was accompanied by a fierce, cold wind. It startled me, thus snatching my consciousness from the land of dreams, to the land of the living. It was then, with much clarity, that I realized what this day was.
This day, unlike other days, had importance far beyond the others, for today was the day for battle. This was the day where I would join my fellows in arms, and ride out against the enemy which dares to oppose us. It was this day that would define me, if I did not do my absolute best, if I do fight with all that is within me, I will know who I truly am.
I rose from the ground, shaking off threads of sleep as I moved about the tent. I put on my mail, and my other protection, I then twisted and turned to make sure it let my body move as freely as possible. Then I cast a glance to my sword. I cast a glance to the instrument in which I owe my life, with out it, I would still not be breathing in the precious air. I strapped the weapon to me.
I hear the shouts of others from outside. I know what they are warning the rest of the camp about. The enemy is coming, it is coming fast and steady; with weapons of hate and destruction in their right hand, and shields of fornication to bash us with in the other. They want to bring us into the dust, they wish to feast upon us, and savor our blood.
I let a heavy breath escape me. I gracefully whip out my blade out of its sheath. I cut at an imaginary that is in the invisible air before me. I let out a few thrusts, then I sheath the blade with practiced precision. I breath heavily again, I know there is no escaping this, I must go to face them. If I do not go, then the lives of my family, and the love of my life could be at stake. I must go, there are no excuses.
I hear more shouts. “To arms! To arms!” they cry. I put on my helmet, then grasped a hold of my shield. I walk out of my tent, the light of day slams into my eyes with a force that is not forgiving. I wince, then my eyes adjust. I see men. Men like me, so young, and yet called to fulfill their purpose, scarred with the frightening experience known as war, their eyes have seen the spilt blood of others that now cries out from the soil. They are my brothers, we have met the enemy before, and we have triumphed.
But now, the enemy rides against us, and we must face them. I walk. I walk with my brothers in the direction in which we may never see each other again. But as we walk, I know that if I do not survive, then I will never see them again. I won’t be able to come back home to meet them, exchange warm embraces, share kisses, and fellowship. I don’t know what it would feel like, not being able to my family again. I don’t know how it would feel not to see my true love. Not being able to smell her angelic fragrance, not to kiss her sweet lips of honey, not to be in her most precious arms. Oh how I only long to be in her arms, how I yearn to hold her as she would hold me!
Then, feelings of a dark hatred engulf me. Thoughts are swirling in my mind like a heavy mist. Thoughts of dislike, thoughts of running away, thoughts of black hatred towards the enemy that called my king to call mothers and I to war. I hate them. At this moment if were in the heat of battle, I feel I could slay them all with a sickening ease.
The call of formation has been uttered. We form. Now we are marching, infantry first, archers behind. As I look to the horizon, I see a black blemishing the sunlight. The black is the enemy. They are the one I must face. They who ride upon steeds of darkness, steeds with blood seeping from their rotting teeth. As each long second passes, I can see them more clearly. They are coming fast.
Without a given command, we marched faster with pure anticipation. We were not going to show ourselves as cowards to those whoresons. No, we would meet them, we would meet them in battle no matter what the cost. We were closer.
As I march, I wonderâ€” a question keeps poking at me. What is death? Why does it make every man, no matter how powerfulâ€” fear it? What authority does it hold over us human beings? What authority does it hold over me? Who does death think he is? I silently hope that in the upcoming battle that I do not face death, and if I do, let me somehow overcome it.
They are close. Maybe two arrows shots length away. They are coming at a high speed. I want to run so badly that my brain cries out to my legs to stop, turn around, and run away. But my heart is stronger, it battles intensely with my mind, and it orders my legs to keep marching in the right direction.
“Draw swords!”someone cries with deep emotion. A ringing enters my ears as I hear hundreds, maybe even a thousand swords being drawn out of their scabbards. I held my gleaming blade in front of me, it steady. I trust it to be swift and sharp, so I can lop off the sorry heads of my enemies without much difficulty.
They are now an arrow shot and a half away. “Archers ready!”the cry says. Shuffling is heard, as a hundred or so quivers are brushed as their owners fingers retrieve an arrow from them. Then a call for a halt. Creaking occurs as the archers draw back on their bows.
The enemy is now a complete arrow shot away. “Fire!” Arrows are released from the eager bows with astounding speed. They sail, then arc downward, their death giving tips aimed at the enemy. Arrows hit the enemy with pleasure, knocking down man, and horse. Then without hesitation, the archers let out a second volley of arrows. More arrows sink into the necks of our enemy.
The enemy is now so close, I can’t even describe a distance. “Charge!” At that, we ran towards our enemy, swords ready to bite and hack at them. We ran; I hope we strike fear and respect into out enemy. I want to see it in their eyes when I slay them.
We meet them in a clash of metal, arrow, steed, and blood. The battle has now officially begun, and I am going to fight with all my might. For if I don’t, then I shall meet death on the battlefield today.
First, a horse with a rider came to me, it stood on its hind legs, it front ones kicking with bone breaking power. I sidestepped out harms way, and swung my blade into the horses gut, then retracted, letting the horse fall to the ground wounded, and soon to be dead. To my surprise, the rider on the horse scrambled off it, and drew his weapon, charging towards me.
He hacked with fury, I met his blows with equal fury, then after barley thirty seconds of fight, I disarmed him by cutting his hand, and with trained accuracy that was drilled into me, I thrust my blade deep into the mans chest. He looked at me with shock gleaming in his eyes. Then I moved on, my sword now freshly coated red with my enemies blood.
One down. Then, another down. Then, yet another. Soon, I lost count, for every encounter was another desperate struggle to keep my own life. And I did not go through each encounter without affliction, no, I too had my own fair share of nicks and cuts.
I searched for another of the enemy that I may slay. Then, I heard a strange whistling, and felt something sharp and intrusive enter me. I felt extreme pain go in me like a ripple. I glanced at my chest, a black shaft with a dark, wiry fletching protruded from the right side of my chest, blood began to bloom out, trickling down me. Mail or no mail, the enemies arrows were sharp, and somehow cut through it. I cursed at myself for letting such a misfortune befall me, but I went on, because that is what was required of me.
I met more of the enemy. I slew them all, I will not let them introduce me to death so soon. For the battle goes on even if don’t, so I fight.
Whistling again, more pain. I know that it is another arrow that has entered me. This time, my mind works to block out the pain, but to no availâ€” my pain throbs with a passion. Butâ€” I go on.
My blade, cuts and hacks, thrusts and nicks, it whirls in a swift grace to give certain death to the enemy that opposes me. It is in constant motion, attacking, and defending. Warding off stray blows, and giving them. I can feel the arrows drain the life out of me, and I curse them. For I do not want them to be my ride to death.
As I glance about, looking at the progress of the battle, I see something. This something is very encouraging, very encouraging indeed. I see that we are winning. I let a laugh come from me. We were winning. The enemy was being pushed back at our might, we are winning.
Then, a horn, shrill in pitch, sounds out, announcing its voice to the battle. I look, and I see a man. The man is cloaked in black, and he wields a sword, the sword looks like its never been cleaned. The sword looks like its stained with the blood of many slain, and the blood seems ancient. I can see by the emblem on him that he is the commander of the army of opposition. No one goes up to him to challenge him. Instead, they all cower away, letting him march forth untouched. I made a decision in my mind that I should be the one to fight him. Then, I went towards him.
I saw that his eyes were as dark as coal, and when he laid eyes upon me, his dark eyes brightened with a sick excitement. He thought he had some easy game. Well, I’d show him differently.
Without taunting or acknowledgment, we met. He swung first, a hard blow came to me. Instinctively, I raised my shield, the shield blocked the blow, but I felt a jarring pain result from it. I could see an evil glee in his eyes when he saw my reaction. Then, without given notion, he pressed his attacks on.
Each time out blades met, I felt the vibration pulsing through my blade due to the sheer impact of his blows. But, I kept fighting, because again, that is what is required of me. Our blades danced, moving rhythmically with practiced choreography. I swear I could see red sparks emerge from our clashing blades.
The fight required every ounce of strength that I had in me, for this commander was very powerful. Suddenly I felt something knock me to the ground, when I lay on the soil, I realized that my enemy had kicked me to the ground. I tried to get back up, but I was pinned painfully to the ground. I gulped long and hard when I figured out what was pinning me to the ground. The thing pinning me was my enemies sword, it was in my mid-section. My enemy looked down at me, his face smug and satisfied. Then he removed the sword, jerking it out. I winced a incredible deal at this.
He just stood there, looking as happy as possible, still gloating over his victory. I would not have it. I would not die like this, no, if I were to die right now, I would at least die with honor. I would die with honor knowing that I had defeated my enemy. I had the perfect opportunity, for he was laying his sword at ease, defenseless, not taking notice that my sword was still in my hand.
Seizing the chance, I leapt up, and once halfway standing, I swung my blade with all my might, and the blade cut in my enemies flesh, cutting skin, and through muscle, leaving his innards exposed. Then, I straightened up, and I whipped my blade around my head and decapitated my enemy. He crumpled to the ground, headless.
My task was done. I had no more strength. I had battled death with all my power, but to no avail. For once death calls you, you must answer. Death was calling me. I staggered around, then fell upon my headless enemy. I knew that I would not be getting back up. I just lay there.
Now feelings of calm came into me, cooling my battle scarred mind. I finally knew what I was fighting for truly, I was fighting for king, country, and family. I fought so I could ensure the safety of my loved ones, I fought so they could continue to live. With this knowledge, I accepted death. I was now welcome. It was welcome because I have now fulfilled my purpose. My destiny was now written.
As I lay there, and as I drew the few of my last breaths, I saw a light. The light was pale, yet beautiful in so many indescribable ways. Soon, the light became all I could see, and I knew my life was done. I was going to a better place, a haven with no pain, no suffering; only joy and love.